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Licensed to practice medicine in California, David R. Fett, MD, a Diplomate with the American Board of Ophthalmology, has gained prominence as a respected ophthalmic plastic and reconstructive surgeon.
By David R Fett MD
The surgical manipulation of the eyelid, blepharoplasty corrects a variety of cosmetic and functional issues, from removing excess skin to strengthening the muscles and tendons of the area. Karl Ferdinand von Gräfe first used the term blepharoplasty to describe his surgical repair of eyelids affected by cancer. The actual history of blepharoplasty, however, dates back to the ancient Egyptians, who performed and documented a variety of facial reconstructive surgeries. The Greeks and Romans furthered the study of cosmetic surgeries, but the practice largely died out during the Middle Ages.
During the Renaissance, academics uncovered Greek and Roman tomes about surgical procedures, renewing interest in the practice. By the 1800s, scientists were making serious advances in several types of surgery, including blepharoplasty. Cosmetic surgery became a central focus after World War I, when surgeons laid the foundations for modern blepharoplasty techniques. During the blepharoplasty procedure, surgeons generally make external incisions along the eyelid’s natural creases to reduce the visibility of scarring. Sometimes a surgeon may perform a transconjunctival blepharoplasty, meaning the incision is made on the inside surface of the lid.
While transconjunctival blepharoplasty allows for fat tissue removal, surgeons are unable to remove excess skin during the procedure. Individuals often seek blepharoplasty for cosmetic reasons, such as reducing puffiness, wrinkling, or sagginess. In some cases, an overabundance of fat or skin can reduce the patient’s field of vision, making blepharoplasty a valuable and necessary procedure. The blepharoplasty process requires about an hour to complete. After the procedure, bruising and swelling generally subsides after a week or two and the incision heals after a few weeks.
Several months, however, must pass before the results of blepharoplasty stabilize. Some patients experience tearing, blurred vision, or light sensitivity during the weeks immediately after surgery, but these side effects generally disappear within a month. Scars from the procedure are generally minimal and become less prominent with time. Surgeons strive to minimize scarring and strategically hide any visible marks.
By David Fett